Meng Reintroduces Legislation to Strengthen Requirements for Product Recalls

Jun 8, 2021
Press Release
Congresswoman’s measure seeks to make the public more aware of recalls; bill would increase the safety of consumers
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) announced today that she reintroduced legislation to improve the way businesses notify the public about recalls in order to better protect consumers from using dangerous products.
The Total Recall Act would require businesses to post recall notices on their websites and all social media accounts. For a mandatory recall, businesses would be required to notify the public by spending at least 25 percent of the money they used for traditional marketing of the product. For a voluntary recall and settlement, companies would be urged to notify consumers by using at least 25 percent of the product’s original traditional marketing budget and 100 percent of the social media marketing budget. The bill would also mandate that the Consumer Product Safety Commission provide an annual report to Congress on participation rates for each recall.
“If passed, my legislation would greatly boost the safety of consumers all across the nation including those in Queens and throughout New York,” said Congresswoman Meng. “It would ensure that more people know about recalls so they can remove dangerous products from their homes. Businesses have a responsibility to do all they can to inform the public about recalls, and that includes marketing the recall as aggressively as they marketed the sale of the product. Companies must never put profits ahead of safety, and the Total Recall Act would make sure that this does not happen when critical recalls are issued. Right now, the average response rate of consumers for most recalls is only between 4 and 18 percent. That is way too low which means the majority of the public continues to unknowingly use products that may be unsafe. That must change and it must change now. Businesses must do better. They must be more effective in getting the word out. Nothing is more important than protecting the health and safety of Americans, and that is why all of my colleagues need to support my bill.”
Meng, who is a founder and Co-Chair of the Congressional Kids’ Safety Caucus, noted that many recalls involve items for children, further increasing the urgency of passing her legislation.
Last year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled 256 products, and dozens of recalls have already been issued this year.
“People should be able to rely on companies to tell them promptly about a defective product and give them clear information they can use to keep their families safe,” said Oriene Shin, Policy Counsel for Consumer Reports. “The Total Recall Act would help hold companies accountable for how well their recalls reach people and keep them safe. We urge all lawmakers to support this bill and to move it through Congress expeditiously.”
"We thank Rep. Meng for introducing the Total Recall Act which would mandate companies do more to get their recalled products out of homes such as posting the recalls on social media and on their websites," said Nancy Cowles, Executive Director of Kids In Danger. "Only a tiny fraction of recalled products are ever accounted for -- leaving millions of units in homes and childcare facilities. More must be done to get hazardous products out of use, and away from our most vulnerable consumers -- children." 
“We applaud the introduction of the Total Recall Act by Representative Meng,” said Rachel Weintraub, Legislative Director and General Counsel at Consumer Federation of America. “The consumer product recall system is in dire need of strengthening and this bill takes critical steps to better inform consumers about recalls with the goal of removing unsafe products from people’s homes.”
A copy of Meng's Total Recall Act can be viewed here